In Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the central location of his Legendarium, Men, although completely identical to humans, are a somewhat different race in the context of his works. The Men of Middle-earth have a different origin and they play a much more important role in the Legendarium. They also have some different traits than regular humans, their lifespan being one of them. Tolkien’s Men live between 80 and 100 years on average, with one subgroup of Men being able to live at least 300 years on average.
Why are we stressing this out? Well, it seems that the question of Aragorn’s age and him being alive in The Hobbit is a burning question among the Tolkien fandom, which is why I’ve decided to solve the problem for you. So, how can Aragorn even be alive in The Hobbit?
Aragorn was alive during The Hobbit
As we know for certain, Aragorn was born on March 1, TA 2931, during the Third Age. As for The Hobbit, we know that Gandalf’s visit to Bilbo Baggins, which marked the beginning of Thorin’s quest in The Hobbit happened in TA 2941, with Bilbo returning home to the Shire in T 2942. So, what does this tell us? This tells us that Aragorn was definitely alive and well during the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield.
How old was Aragorn in The Hobbit?
When the adventure described in The Hobbit began, Aragorn was 10 years old and had been the 16th Chieftain of the Dúnedain of the North for eight years, since he inherited the title after the murder of his father, Arathorn, which happened when he was two years old.
When the adventure ended, he might have been 11, but he was not older. When the Fellowship of the Ring commenced its journey in The Lord of the Rings in TA 3018, Aragorn was 87 years old, meaning that he had already passed the average minimum age of Men.
Does Aragorn appear in The Hobbit book?
In 2008, when an adaptation of The Hobbit was in the early stages of development, before Peter Jackson replaced Guillermo del Toro, an unnamed producer approached Viggo Mortensen about whether he was open to reprising the role of Aragorn in The Hobbit movie. Mortensen’s reply? “You do know, don’t you? Aragorn isn’t in The Hobbit.”
And while he is technically correct, Peter Jackson would later change some narrative elements to include characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy so that he could connect his two trilogies into one functional cinematic unit, despite altering the story and the chronology of the books.
In that aspect, a ranger named Strider was mentioned in The Battle of the Five Armies, which was an obvious reference to Aragorn, who is also known as Strider. This is the scene:
So, while he does not appear in the movie after all, he is mentioned as a “young ranger”, which doesn’t actually fit the actual chronology as he was just 10 at the time and certainly not a well-known ranger. In fact, Aragorn was, at the time, fostered in Rivendell by Elrond and his lineage was kept a secret at the behest of his mother.
So, in all actuality, Aragorn was actually with the Elves when the events of The Hobbit took place and he was only 10 years old. So, does Aragorn appear in the book in any way? No, he does not; he is neither mentioned, nor referenced in The Hobbit book, but he is alive during those events and we now know where he was and what he was doing at the time.
When did Aragorn die?
Now, we know that Aragorn had a very long life, more than most Men. After being Chieftain for 86 years, Aragorn ruled as the King of Gondor for 122 years, before eventually dying in FO 120, at the age of 210; this happened during the Fourth Age. Aragorn chose to die; he chose to lay down his life in the manner of the long-living Kings of Númenor, dying in a ceremonial way after more than a century of rule over the Reunited Kingdom.
How did Aragorn live for so long?
We’ve said that the average lifespan of Men is between 80 and 100 year, with the Men of Númenor being able to live for 300 to 500 years. Aragorn was introduced as a ranger, yet he chose to die when he was 210 years old. How did that happen? How is that even possible?
Well, as his character was developed, we discovered that he was actually a descendant of the Men of Númenor, i.e., not an ordinary Man. Seeing that he had Númenorian heritage, it’s only logical that he could live longer than other Men and that is the reason why he was able to live for such a long time.